Basic App Usability Factors

wirelessweek.gifWith so many brands turning to mobile in order to gain brand recognition and utility for their customers it’s surprising they aren’t putting more effort into the user experience.

For example, Wireless Week mentions that a recent study showed that…

"38 percent of mobile application users agreed that they were not satisfied with most of the apps currently available from their favorite brand name" 


"13 percent have avoided downloading applications from a brand name company or organization due to a previous bad experience with another app offered by that brand"

From my experience, I have found that app usability is often a contentious thing. You only have to look at what handset OEM’s UI ‘specialists’ have done to see how difficult it can be to design UIs. I have found that end users often have far more insight than developers or specialist UI designers. Yes, employing UI designers can get you part way there but having pre-production end user tests is often much more productive.

Having implemented very many App UIs designed by various people and seen these used, here are some most-basic areas that most often trip people up…

  • The font size for people with poorer eyesight
  • The scaling and sizing of images for different screen sizes and orientations
  • Colours and their visibility in different lighting conditions
  • The install experience
  • Things happening in the background that slow down the UI
  • Having to download things that can potentially take ‘forever’
  • Cryptic and ambiguous icons and text

Instead, most people spend their time thinking (and arguing) about screen layouts.